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Ammo The Crosman Mark I and Mark II – Part 3

The Crosman Mark I and Mark II – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

TheSeptember podcast went live yesterday. If you enjoy hunting, you’ll like this podcast! My voice still sounds a little weak, but I think that I also didn’t set up something properly in Garage Band, which is how I record the podcast. Now, on to today’s blog.

Part 1
Part 2

Today, we’ll look at accuracy. Several years ago, I wrote a feature article for Shotgun News in which I pitted the Mark I and a Smith & Wesson 78G against a modern Crosman 2240. I thought the vintage guns would run away with the contest when it came to accuracy, but the reverse happened. The 2240 beat both other guns for power and accuracy. So, tomorrow I’m starting a special three-part test of the 2240, just to keep the playing field level. Today, it’s the Mark I’s turn in the spotlight.

I go back to school
The first couple groups I shot at 10 meters weren’t good. I wondered what had happened to me, then I remembered that I shoot a lot better without my bifocals on. For some reason, my glasses make it difficult to focus on the front sight.

So, off came the specs and on went the shooting glasses. The groups got smaller, but not as much as I was hoping for. Then I did something I’ve preached against for the past 40 years. I closed my left eye! Suddenly, I could see the front sight and the rear sight clearly, and the groups tightened right up to what they were supposed to be. So, lesson learned for the umpteenth time. Don’t shoot with your regular glasses on and cover up that non-sighting eye. My shooting glasses do all that, I was just too lazy to go find them. Besides, I wanted to see if I could still shoot without that aid.

The trigger-pull is still set rather heavy, breaking at around 5 lbs. on stage two. But, when the gun is rested, as it was for this test, that’s not a hindrance.

RWS Hobbys
Remember, the Crosman Mark I is .22 caliber, not .177. The RWS Hobby is a lightweight wadcutter pellet in both .177 and .22. It seemed to fit the breech of the pistol fairly well, with a little resistance as the bolt pushed it home. They grouped well but had a couple fliers that could have been caused by my sighting experiments. I was shooting 10-shot groups as usual, and that takes a lot longer than the same number of 5-shot groups, so I didn’t run the Hobbys again because other pellets promised more accuracy.

RWS Hobby pellets showed promise with this 10-shot group at 10 meters. Six of the 10 went into a very tight group, and this was during the time when I was experimenting with sighting!

Gamo Hunter
I initially tried Gamo Hunter pellets and got a pretty good group, despite my sighting problems. And, when I went again while doing everything right, the 10-shot group was truly rewarding!

This group of 10 Gamo Hunters was shot after I got the sighting sorted out. The first group showed lots of promise, and this was the payoff. The lower pellet was not called as a flier.

RWS Superdomes
I didn’t wait to hear from disgruntled readers that I’d overlooked the RWS Superdome pellet yet again, so they were included in this test. The first group was shot while I was having sighting problems, and also during a CO2 cartridge changeover, and it still was tight enough to recommend a further look. That further look, shot after the sighting problems had been resolved, proved to be the best of the test! So those who tout RWS Superdomes were right in this case.

And there’s the money shot. Ten RWS Superdomes went into that tiny group at 10 meters. Clearly, the best pellet of those tested.

Crosman Premiers
I did try Crosman Premiers, as well, but they fit the breech very loosely and didn’t have the same grouping potential as the others. Perhaps on another day….

The bottom line
The bottom line for the Crosman Mark I vintage air pistol is that it’s a very worthy handgun. The prices seem to have risen over the past year, but they can still be bought if you’re a careful searcher. The prize seems well worth the effort.

68 thoughts on “The Crosman Mark I and Mark II – Part 3”

  1. Any idea’s on how to stop the search bar and everything below it from displaying for a split second, then disappearing while the article expands to fill the entire page, every time I bring this blog up? All other features work fine.

    • MikeZ,

      You must be using IE8 as your browser. We’re aware of the problems with IE8 and have been working on a fix. We should get that resolved this week. If you can switch over to another browser (Safari, Firefox or Chrome), you won’t have any problems.


  2. Morning B.B.,

    Yes sir good shooting! Those RWS Superdomes sure look good. It’s nice to see that you haven’t lost your touch.

    MikeZ, I think that problem is still being worked on. I have the same problem with IE8, but google chrome works ok.


  3. B.B.

    After shooting 2 or 3 dozen times yesterday and this morning, I was worried that I had gotten the chamber on the 48 too rough so I tore it back down.

    The chamber feels a lot smoother than it did right after working on it. Looks rough with a flashlite but feels smooth to the touch…maybe not quite like glass, but close. Dull appearance with flashlite.
    No scuffing damage to the piston.

    Does it sound OK or should I polish it with fine steel wool a bit?


    • Two Talon: I don’t think you would hurt your gun by doing so now that you’ve got it apart again. FWIW, when I did my 48 .22, I did not hone the compression tube. I re-used the factory seal and just lube tuned and de-burred, and used moly like you did . It did smooth and quiet the gun down. My gun cronies around 810fps with JSB Jumbo’s, which shoot the best in mine.
      Except for the china guns, I don’t touch the compression tubes anymore. I know this is againist what is preached, but I think the better guns should be left alone unless there was an obvious defect. The inside of the tubes are rough enough in my opinion to grab and hold enough moly for proper lubrication of the seal againist the tube. In fact I believe that a seal made of the proper material and lubed with material recommended by the piston seal’s maker is lubrication enough. My 48 when I received it, would not always cock. The only thing I polished was the trigger plates which eliminated the issue.

      • Thanks.

        Will polish a bit.

        This gun is slower than yours by a bit but shoots good. Don’t like the looks of the breech seal. Looks like it could leak a bit. Should get a new one.

        Now to get my hands dirty again. Hardest part is getting the cocking lever back in place. Tight fit.


      • Robert….

        Did some plinking. Sounds good and not as loud…different tone. No POI change.
        Plinking gravel and sticks at around 20-25 yds (open sights). Even with the wind, hard to miss. Had to adjust trigger a bit again. I like a light second stage, but keep losing it. Must be from the lube and oil working around. We are talking about within 1/8 turn on the trigger screw.

        Happy so far. think I will order some Vortek breech seals and maybe a spare piston seal.


    • twotalon,

      Sorry for getting back so late. It looks like you have all the answers you need, so I’ll be brief.

      A frosted appearance and smooth to the touch is just what you want in a chamber. I can’t wait to hear your next installment. We have a blog within a blog on your rifle.


      • B.B.

        All I was really worried about was screwing it up. It’s my first time at doing more than dripping a little oil here and there.
        A few spare seals and a spare cocking rod will go into my parts stash soon. The junk guns don’t much matter, but I will have to get some tar, more moly, and a replacement trigger before I fool around with any of the other ones.


  4. BB: I’m looking forward to the performance test between the 2240 and the MK1. I had an interesting experience with a vintage air rifle. Yesterday at a flea market, I aquired a somewhat rough,but functioning Sheridan crew cut 1959 model CB with the hold down safety. I couldn’t resist buying it, as the pumpers are my favorites. When I shot it with some vintage bantam pellets I have, it wouldn’t do better than 2″ at 10 meters from a solid rest! My 1985 rocker CB shoots those into a quarter easily at that range. This is with the factory sights ,which are hard for me to see. Then I tried some JSB pellets that the rocker shoots poorly (it likes the newer cylindricals and premiers the best) , and the old hold down safety gun put them into groups that were dime sized. It also shot beeman Lasers well ,but not as good as the JSB’s. I have to wonder about the original owner of this gun back in the day, when all he had were the bantams to use in his Sheridan. He was probably disgusted with the accuracy of his gun given the period advertisments touting it’s superior power and accuracy. Now 50 years latter, there are pellets available that shoot accurately. That’s a long time to wait, Robert.

      • tdung,

        You probably know that the Beeman R9 is the same powerplant as the Weihrauch HW95 and the Beeman R7 is the same powerplant as the Weihrauch HW30S. The major difference between these Beeman and Weihrauch guns are their stocks and open sights. The Beeman R7 and Beeman R9 have checkering and typically lighter finishes these Weihrauch guns don’t have checkering and typically a little darker finish. Neither the newer Beeman R7 nor newer R9 come with open sights but the Weihrauch HW95 and HW30S come with the fine front and rear open sights.

        Did you notice on the Pyramyd AIR site that in .177 caliber the HW30S is $45.45 cheaper than the R7? Did you notice the HW95 prices are the same in all 3 calibers as the R9’s 3 calibers?

        If you desire open sights you may want to look into the Weihrauch guns.


        • Kevin,

          Yes. I’ve been looking at the HW95 Luxus, with open sight, and I really like it. I also notice that Beeman ones have Life Limited Warranty, but not sure what that means, in terms of coverage.

          As for R9/HW95, it seems like .20 cal is more popular (just my opinion based on reading from the internet) and if that is true, then does it have anything to do with accuracy?


          • tdung,

            Here’s what the current Beeman owner’s manual says about the Beeman Lifetime Repair Warranty:

            Air Venturi offers a FREE lifetime repair policy on many Beeman airguns. During the lifetime of the original retail purchaser, Air Venturi will provide without cost all genuine factory parts and factory-authorized labor necessary to repair any factory defect of material or workmanship of the covered airgun. Parts and labor necessary to repair any defect of material or workmanship of the seals and mainspring(s) will similarly be provided for one year from the verified date of purchase.

            Some items are not covered by this free lifetime repair policy, including: normal wear and tear; customer abuse; unauthorized repairs, parts or modifications; stocks/wood (including the finish); damage as a result of incorrect lubrication, over-lubrication or improper lubricants; breech, piston and other seals; mainsprings; and loss or theft. This lifetime repair policy is valid only as long as parts are readily available for the airguns.

            This policy supersedes all other repair policies. For repairs on any airgun, send the airgun prepaid and insured to: Air Venturi, 18370 S. Miles Rd., Warrensville Heights, OH 44128. Include a note describing the problem, your name, address, telephone number and a copy of your dated sales receipt.

            We strongly advise against disassembly or modifying your air rifle. Doing so could be dangerous. The powerful mainsprings are kept under considerable tension even when the air rifle is not cocked. Improper disassembly may lead to serious injuries or even death if the mainspring is suddenly ejected from the compression tube. Specialized training, as well as proper tools, are required to safely disassemble and reassemble the air rifle.


          • tdung,

            I think the popularity in .20 caliber in the R9/HW95 has more to do with maximizing the efficiency of the pellet weight considering the stock velocity of the gun not accuracy.

            The R9/HW95 is too powerful for most people’s taste in .177 and a little doggy/underpowered for .22 caliber. .20 caliber seems ideal for the R9/HW95 in a stock gun.

            In my experience a .177 caliber R9 is jumpy/twangy/buzzy and not fun to shoot for long periods. The .20 caliber seems right for this gun. Even a de-tuned R9/HW95 shooting jsb’s has a pretty flat trajectory and the firing cycle is ok.


            • tdung,

              Should have said even a de-tuned .20 caliber shooting jsb’s has a pretty flat trajectory and the firing cycle is ok. Funny. This morning I scoped the recently purchased .20 caliber R9 that was tuned by maccari I told you about and shot for about 15 minutes to get the scope dialed.


              • Kevin,

                That’s great. So “smooth tuned” is equivalent to “de-tuned” (sorry, I am just learning the terminologies). Do you know its “de-tuned” velocity yet? Let us know how the accuracy goes when you test it out.

                I’ve had the chance to shoot the R9 .20 I asked you the other day. You are right. This one has a lot of vibration and twang. If I get it, I have to save money for a tune.


                • tdung,

                  Sorry, yes smooth tune=de-tune. I really try to avoid airgun speak.

                  No, I didn’t get the chrony out. Only had 3 different types of pellets in .20 caliber so tested them all and found out the jsb’s grouped best. He has a pest problem and asked that it be zeroed at 20 yards. At 20 yards 5 shots can be covered with a dime shooting the jsb’s. The kodiaks were second best and made (with my help) a slightly larger than dime size group. The gun was bench rested while shooting for these groups. The gun was delivered to a friend about an hour ago.

                  The velocity tests according to the seller for this smooth tuned R9 are:

                  crosman premiers 641-656
                  beeman fts 744-754
                  silver bears 812-823

                  Hope I answered all your questions.


  5. B.B. ,

    Do you think that the rifle twist rate has an effect on how different weight pellets perform, I was thinking that the reason light (non lead) pellets don’t do well even at less than 900 fps may be due to the twist rate of the barrel . I know it effects 5.56 cal. for best accuracy different bullet weights take different twist rates.
    Eagerly awaiting the 2240 test, still have to do something about the trigger on mine.

    • Shaky,

      If the twist rate matters for airguns it’s too bad, because most barrels are rifled with a 1:16 twist. It’s the .22 LR twist and airgun makers never bothered to change it.

      Lothar Walther has also rifled some airgun barrels with a 1:18″ twist and they seem to be just as accurate. I think as long as diabolo pellets are used, the twist rate is very secondary. When solid pellets are used the twist rate becomes all important, because it’s the only thing stabilizing the “pellet” (bullet).


        • Kevin,

          Interesting you should ask. Fredrik is impressing the rifling into barrel from the outside, which saves him money in production. People are raving because it’s a new way of rifling.

          However, I have heard that he’s getting good results with it, even though it was a cost-savings move.

          Anybody got a new FX with the smooth-twist rifling?


          • B.B.,

            As we know “smooth twist” technology by impressing rifling from the outside has been done in firearms long ago. I have to agree with you that some new owners might be caught in the hype may be trying to justify their investment. Nonetheless, many new owners are raving about accuracy on the yellow and fx forums.

            As an example I read a post in the past week wherein a new owner that now has about 5,000 pellets through his gun thinks it’s getting more accurate because of the smooth twist barrel.

            I’d also like to hear from anyone that has one of these new barrels and their opinions. Does the barrel’s accuracy improve after each tin of pellets? I’m not trying to be judgemental or flippant I really want to know.


            • Kevin, I don’t think you can do a valid test with a single shooter and rifle. Wouldn’t the shooter get more accurate just from a matter of course by shooting more pellets through his gun and learning how the gun shoots as well as how to shoot? Be tough to tell if it’s the shooter improving or the barrel is responsible for the better results due to “seasoning”?

              Just a thought.


              • Fred,

                I think we’re in the same camp.

                Before the kid I played a lot of golf. 3-4 times a week and practiced before playing sometimes spending hours on the driving range then moving to the chipping area then finish with putting.

                Almost without exception when someone in the men’s club would buy a new set of clubs (this happens a lot with golfers, not unusual to have several new sets per year for some addicts) they were the greatest thing since sliced bread. Funny thing is when someone got a new set of clubs you’d see them on the range hitting them because they were excited about their new investment and convinced that “now they could play this damn game”. What always seemed to go unnoticed in their minds was that they were spending time “accidently” practicing their swing “while they thought they were just getting used to the new clubs.

                I’m convinced that in most cases it was just the additional practice that gave them some improvement in their game not the new clubs.


            • There are only a couple things that I can think of….

              Any barrel needs time to stabilize the dirt level in the bore to get it as consistent as possible. How many shots it will take depends on the ammo and the bore. Also there is a polishing effect that slowly rubs down rough spots and fuzzies.

              Another thing is the rifling itself…
              Look at pellets fired through conventional rifling…lead gets extruded where the rifling lands gripped the pellet. The extrusions will never be perfectly uniform around the pellet, so it will never detatch perfectly when it leaves the muzzle. Different brands of barrels will extrude more lead than others. Very shallow rifling or the poly something rifling that produces less conspicuous bite marks and extrusions may also be better than the deeper groove rifling for the same reason.

              Since barrels made by the same manufacturer can vary a great deal in quality, you have to wonder just what tolerances any manufacturer holds to. You can get good ones or you can get pigs.
              Then you have to wonder if the newer smooth twist barrels are really that much better than a good conventional barrel or if the older barrel that was replaced was crap in the first place. Or was the best pellet chosen in the first place?
              We will never know.


              • twotalon,

                I have several guns that are more accurate than me. Don’t know how those barrels could be better but I should could be.

                I traveled a long ways and spent a lot of money to learn it’s not usually the arrow but the indian.


  6. Nice shooting. That will motivate me for this evening’s pistol work. And I’m looking forward to the 2240 review. Was it Derrick who was raving about it?

    I’ve come up with a new way to classify guns! After a recent bout of committee work, I’ve come away with the impression that this is a flawed process and that the most creative work is done by an individual. So, in the world of gun design, it stands to reason that your best designs will come from the greatest talent working alone for the maximum amount of time. Tops in this category would have to be John Garand working for 20 years on his M1. Anything by John Browning would have to rank highly since that guy was such a super genius. I understand that the Mauser brothers worked for quite a while on their 98 rifle. In the world of airguns, Robert Beeman working with his computer program changed the industry with the R1. And then there’s our very own Tom Gaylord with the Bronco. Any other protracted feats of design creativity that I’ve missed? My correlation seems pretty strong so far.


    • Matt61,

      Samuel Colt, Christian Sharps, Val Browning (John Browning’s father that was also an inventor/gunsmith that greatly influenced John), Jacob and Samuel Hawken, Arthur Savage (also invented radial tires, thanks Art), Roy Weatherby (especially for cartridge wildcatting), Benjamin Henry (key engineer in winchester as well as others), airguns……….John Bowkett, Dennis Quackenbush, Tom Gaylord…wait you already mentioned him.


  7. B.B.’
    Thanks, I was just wondering. The way things are going as in California, we may need to find a way to make non lead pellets work better.
    Didn’t Marlin have what they called a microgroove rifling , I could be wrong about who , the old memory ain’t what she used to be 🙂 Actually nothing else is either.

    • I don’t know why they called it microgroove. I don’t know if it was any better than any other barrel.
      I think it had 12 lands and grooves like the LW barrels have. Maybe microgroove because the grooves had to be narrower because there were more of them than the usual 8 groove barrel.


      • twotalon,

        Harry Pope invented what Marlin called microgroove rifling. The lands were extremely narrow, to upset the base of the bullet as little as possible. It works well for lead .22 bullets at LR velocities and it works for jacketed bullets, but not for larger lead bullets at high velocities. Of course when Pope invented it, no bullet went faster than 1,400 f.p.s.


  8. Interesting report on the Mark 1 and interesting you are comparing it with the 2240. I have a few of the 2300KT’s from the custom shop in .22 with a 12″ barrel. I find that even with the LPA MIM sights on the 2300KT, the Mark 1’s still have better sights as they can be infinitely adjusted to hit what you aim at and they have a better sight picture for me with the post closely matching the rear slot. In addition, the Mark 1 trigger is far superior to a stock 2300KT trigger (even with the adjustment turned all the way down). I conclude no contest for a 2240 vs a Mark 1 if you are adjusting both to hit the bullseye (vs aiming at the bullseye, but letting the groups go where they may) and lightening up on the trigger on the Mark 1 and shooting freehand. Of course, my 2300KT’s can inch ahead by using a 3 moa red dot sight and using a lighter spring/polishing the sear. The bulk fill 2300KT with the boss valve shoots 656 fps – that is as fast as my RWS 46 .22!

  9. Matt61,
    Sure, I’ll champion the 2240 all day long. I think it’s a great gun for not much money that can be modified to your heart’s content. It’s hard to buy one, modify it and not want two or three more.

    All the Crosman 2240, 2300, 2250, 2260, Discovery barrels have an OD of nominally 7/16″. Any LDC that fits one fits all–provided that it’s attached with set screws.

    • Derrick,
      I guess my old eyes are not too bad. I was just using my old metal pocket measure (no calipers) to guesstimate the OD on my 2240’s barrel, next line from 27/64 was 7/16. Maybe my eyes are not so bad 🙂 I took my glasses off to measure 😉


  10. I found a Beeman SS2L skylight scope today near mint,with just the pins to mount on 11.5mm dovetails…and like BB pointed out,they are much sought after and priced accordingly! If anyone here goes to buy one,you must make sure it has the spacer pins for it to match your intended dovetail width!! The scope originally came with (5)pairs of pins for widths in half mm. steps up to 13.5 mm. Of course getting all five pairs in the original Beeman box is most desirable.I got lucky on a Beeman SS3 in just that arrangement,so I’ve pins for now.Just in case anyone out there likes Japanese scopes….

  11. Hi everyone I’m Frank, just new to this and have bought several pellet guns through this website, and I can’t say enough but to give big kudos to Pyramid Air. Recently I just purchase my brand new Crosman 2240, I’ve heard enough as to know this gun can be modified in so many ways and maybe I can get some feedback from experience members here as what I should buy and how to modify my new gun. First of all I would like to know what is the best scope to buy as well as modifying the breech to install a good scope. I was leaning towards to a Crosman 64 Peep Sight for starters. Finally where is the best website (Crossman.com?) or anyone that can recommend me into buying parts that are at a reasonable price. Thanks!

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